Lunchtime Lecture (Midlands): ‘Damned Good Show’: The RAF in the Second World War on Film and TV

11 April 2024

At 12pm on Thursday 11th April 2024, James Jefferies will present a talk about the RAF during the Second War and its representation in film and television. This lecture will be hosted in-person at our Midlands site and live-streamed via Crowdcast.
Talk Outline
Much of the public collective memory of the air war between 1939 and 1945 has been shaped by numerous factors but perhaps one of the most prominent is that of film and television. From the stirring music of films such as The Dam Busters (1955) and Battle of Britain (1969) to stories of heroism in TV productions such as A Perfect Hero (1991) and First Light (2010) these reflect wider collective memories of the RAF in the Second World War and have become emotive cultural representations.
 
Other reflections and interpretations of identity, gender, class, and masculinity are also factors that can be examined. The themes will also themselves have shaped these factors too. Wider identities of “Britishness” are also echoed in these productions and evolved with the passage of time. Other factors have helped to perpetuate and create symbolism in wider memory. This has included the Spitfire as a symbol of Britain’s “finest hour” and the preference of heroism being mainly bestowed to fighter pilots rather than the bombers crews which to this day remains a contentious topic. How has this been done and also why? How can the RAF in film and TV be used to understand such varied themes? In this talk James Jefferies uses examples of film and TV productions to examine this.
Location
This hybrid lecture will be hosted in-person at the RAF Museum’s Midlands site in the Lecture Theatre. Attendance in-person is free but registration is required via Digitickets.
Livestream
To attend virtually, register via Crowdcast.
 
About James Jefferies
James Jefferies is a PhD Candidate and Assistant Lecturer at the University of Essex specialising in the war in the air during the Second World War and the British cultural memory of this and Associate Fellow (AFHEA) of the Higher Education Academy. He also currently teaches at the University of Wolverhampton and has previously taught at Northeastern University London and at Jesus College, Cambridge and Corpus Christi, Oxford. He has been published numerous times including in the Journal of Twentieth Century History and for the International Churchill Society. Previous talks have included conferences at the RAF Museum Hendon, University of Pittsburgh, and Aviation Cultures. He has also given talks for Battle Guide Virtual Tours, Museum of Combined Military Warfare, and History Indoors. He is also a postgraduate member of the Royal Historical Society and member of the Great War Group.

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